What would you like to see happen?

This message comes from both Adora and Keith.

We've been discussing the reactions nonstop over the past few days. We've read all the comments and we know you're unhappy - and we don't want you to be.

We honestly just want to make positive changes to the site, but not at the cost of driving people away. We're both willing to work with you to find a solution that is more comfortable.

All previous plans are on hold.

What would you like us to do to resolve the situation? Would you prefer to have Adora back in charge?

The server has been paid up for quite some time, so if people truly want to have Adora back in charge, losing the site in the immediate future would no longer be an issue.

Keith would like to remain as part of the team (and fulfil a role as technical admin), but any future changes would go through Adora and be put to a vote by the community itself.

We're both busy with family commitments in the coming days but wanted to get this quick message out to you to begin this dialogue with you.

- Keith & Adora

Keith & Adora on Jul 03 2011 07:59 pm
This morning when I logged on, there was a newsitem of Aelfwine where she/he addressed concern regarding the possible response of the Tolkien Estate now that the ownership has taken a commercial interest in this site. Why has that newsitem, posted by a mod of all people, been removed?

What is this for a kind of action? Is this another way of not listening to members and their mods, simply because they put something up there that you guys do not wish to have an emphasis on, let alone have not adressed these very valid reasons at all?

Way to go on restoring that trust and do not bother to say that this was a stupid whoopsie that has been made. That excuse is wearing very thin now.
- Rhapsody on Jul 04 2011 08:25 am
First I want to say thanks for the News Archive button, I'm sure quite a lot of people (me included) didn't know before how to find older items.
For my part I'm willing to wait and see what will happen with the site, though I agree with what many already said, this community knows what it wants and I don't want flashy shiny features, I'm a reader, I come to this site to simply read stories and comment on them.
But this is also the crux of things - if all of my favorite authors leave, then of course I'll follow them. For now I'll just see how things will develop, though I repeat, I'm quite happy with the site as it is.
- tinara on Jul 04 2011 08:57 am
One thing. Stay as an administrator if you like and want to learn about Tolkien (which I personally don't believe you), but please, roll back the plans to commercialize this site. That, or get the eff out and keep your grubby fingers off fandom. As it's been pointed out, and as at least Adora should understand, fandom is a gift economy. It won't (and for copyright reasons, can't) mix well with money.

@Rhapsody: Since the article was removed, could you summarize what it said?
- Innin on Jul 04 2011 09:36 am
From the top of my head, Aelfwine expressed her/his main concern about the Estate's possible actions to take on this website. She shared the link to the FAQ the estate has on this:

and cited this part from it:

"Can I / someone else write / complete / develop my / their own version of one of these unfinished tales ? (or any others)
The simple answer is NO.
You are of course free to do whatever you like for your own private enjoyment, but there is no question of any commercial exploitation of this form of "fan-fiction".
Also, in these days of the Internet, and privately produced collectors’ items for sale on eBay, we must make it as clear as possible that the Tolkien Estate never has, and never will authorize the commercialisation or distribution of any works of this type.
The Estate exists to defend the integrity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings. Christopher Tolkien's work as his father’s literary executor has always been to publish as faithfully and honestly as possible his father's completed and uncompleted works, without adaptation or embellishment."
- Rhapsody on Jul 04 2011 09:46 am
From what I've seen from the plethora of posts at various wank sites, I seriously doubt anything you say at this point would change anyone's view point. Seems to me the members don't trust either you or Adora. I don't see how you can recover from this foible.
Soc Kemhard
- Soc Kemhard on Jul 05 2011 12:00 am
Tsk tsk tsk. And you're censoring people now, here and on your blog? You have moved from a shovel to a backhoe, dude! *looks down in hole you have dug yourself into* ECHOOOOO.... echoooo
- Soc Kemhard on Jul 05 2011 04:03 am
I am not a writer who often posts my work. But I understand every word Sian (Spiced Wine) said. What I write is a part of my soul. I do not want to write or read trifling little stories. I want to read stuff with real emotion and life. That is not always pretty and “G” rated, though sometimes it can be beautifully nc-17 rated. A Number of times it has been said, “nothing will change”, and then a disclaimer is added…”yet”.

I want to have that “yet” or “for now” removed never to show up again. I want every author here, and every reviewer to be assured freedom. NO site on the internet is fool proof against underage people gaining access to what is deemed unfit for them. Do what you can to make it secure and then let us be adults. I am 49 years old, far too old to be censored. As Spiced Wine says, we write because we must. The authors that bring so much traffic to this site will keep writing. It is up to you to keep them here. I think complete assurance of freedom and safety for mature authors would go a long way. We love our young fan fic authors. They are our future. But there are any number of places they can read and post. I enjoyed the adult community that this was, and I hope you will unquestionably remain.
- Lisse on Jul 06 2011 05:18 pm

The trouble is, Lisse, is that this has gone spectacularly tits-up, and the adult content is only part of the problem.
1) Keith Mander made it clear that he wanted to run this site to basically make himself revenue; not, as I thought at the beginning, to get the site to pay for itself -- a very different proposition, and one which I am sure most people would not be averse to.

From that comes
2) How do you monetize a site so it will bring revenue? Well, FF.Net runs ads; when I visit, the screen blanks out and hit me with a full-page ad; annoying, but I rarely go on FF.Net. However FF.Net will not host Adult rated stories. Both it, and LJ (under different owners) completely buckled under pressure, and removed adult content without prior warning. Ask Ziggy or Esteliel, both have to self-censor to post their work there.

Maybe Keith Mander can navigate the waters of advertising, but if that is so, then I can see all Adult content being pulled in the same way. We can only look at what's happened in the past, and to far larger concerns. He bought a Twilight fanfiction site.
Twilight is young, and sparkly (couldn't resist!) with a majority young authorship. I doubt he would run into adult content problems on there. It's like the Bahama Banks, pretty, shallow waters, where you can see what the content is. But that patch of the Pacific out there, where the waters turn deep, deep blue? That's the Challenger Deep, the deepest point in the ocean of fanfiction (and that's us: the Tolkien fandom.) It's a mile deeper than Mount Everest is high, and there are creatures swimming in those depths people don't want to imagine, and science is only just giving names to. Those names: Dubcon, MPreg, Noncon, Sub/dom, BDSM, slash, twincest, threesomes and moresomes? You have to understand what those names mean, and what they bring with them if you try and catch them. They're not tame, they're not comfortable, but they're never going to go away. Those creatures are perfect for their environment, and some people do want to study (read) them. So, if, as a site owner, you get barraged with complaints about adult content coming up in ads on a site that a twelve-year old can access, he or she is going to have to let those dark creatures swim loose. LOTRFF may exist to become a family-friendly site, but this particular author of a series founded on incest, M/M relationships, rape, torture and the occasional orgiastic ritual, will obviously not be using it.

And then there is the Tolkien Estate. While the Organization For Transformative Works are willing to defend our right to create and post non-profit fanfic, and to host our stories whatever the rating, I doubt a businessman would. To do that you would have to care deeply about fanfiction, and believe in it.
No fanfiction writer wants to see their Long Peace with the Tolkien Estate explode into the Dagor Bragollach and become the Dagor Nirnaeth Arnoediad. (Again, couldn't resist.) We're happy writing and posting our non-profit stories. Fanfiction as a whole does not mesh well with money. After all, if we wanted to make money from writing, we would not be writing fanfiction. We know we cannot sell it. We are passion-driven creatures. We don't mind archives paying for themselves, but even were the Tolkien Estate not an issue, how many people would be willing to post on a site knowing their work is paying some-one a good wage, while they (like many people) are just managing to make ends meet?

But the point is; none of these concerns were truly addressed, and people left. A community of 7 years duration has become a place I don't want to post any-more. It's like a city after a bomb's been dropped. We'll regroup and rebuild in other places, (and are already doing so) because we follow the authors -- that's what fanfiction is about after all: writing, reading, reviewing, discussing, becoming fans of fanfiction writers and their works. What can be done here, on LOTRFF? Now, I honestly don't know. It would have to be something incredible, and almost impossible.

- Spiced Wine on Jul 07 2011 11:12 am
@ Spiced Wine and Lisse

What I find very disturbing is one of Keith's comments on his blog to KYMAHALEI concerning NC-17 material.

I’ll reiterate that nothing is changing with regards to the site’s policies in the immediate term. I’d like to provide some further clarification on this; could this therefore mean a change in the future if not now? It could, yes, BUT only if you, the users, desire to see any change. As far as I’m concerned on the matter, my opinion is mute and I’m not going to impose my ethics on the policies. Let’s have an open discussion on this and make a collective agreement. (emphasis mine)

He's not going to impose his ethics on the site policy? That statement there makes me nervous, because it speaks that he has a personal issue with the NC-17 content, and if that's the case, when challenged, he's not going to fight for the authors' rights to post it.
- Soc Kemhard on Jul 07 2011 04:17 pm
@ Soc Kemhard.
From the beginning, I felt that ultimately, NC17 rated works would be pulled under pressure, and that there could be no reassurance on that issue.
I have now uploaded all my works elsewhere, and deleted them from this site. After four years, it hurt, but I would rather them be hosted on an archive where I know they are safe, and the owner, who also writes Adult work, will welcome them. Arbitrary deletion of NC17 has happened before, and I could see it happening here. The fact that is had not, and nothing had changed, was not reassuring to me.
- Spiced Wine on Jul 07 2011 05:40 pm
It's been some days. For now an update about any behind-the-scenes developments would be great. Transparency goes a long way, don't make the same mistakes again.
- Innin on Jul 09 2011 12:33 pm
What would you like to see happen?

I would like to see you stop being a coward and address the questions/concerns brought to you by the members of the community you ruined. Your silence in this matter proves just what sort of a person you are. Not only is ignoring the members of your website rude, it's bad business.

To those members who are still here and decided to give Keith a chance, perhaps you should check out the link someone posted at Keith's blog (>. Seems he is planning to travel the world. Kind of hard to do if you're only making a modest salary to pay your bills, eh? Face it, Keith is a liar and a coward and has abandoned this site. Hope you don't wake up one morning and find it has disappeared. Sadly, I think that is exactly what will happen.... ~Soc Kemhard
- Soc Kemhard on Jul 26 2011 09:12 pm
Is that dialogue going on somewhere else? If so, kindly direct us to it, because I don't see it here.

I do owe Mr. Mander a big thank you though: transferring my fics to another site (and re-editing them in the process) has really got my creative juices flowing again. So, for what it's worth, at least one good thing has come from this mess.
- Laurelin on Jul 28 2011 06:40 am
The link was given at Keith's blog (sorry, links don't work for me here, you have to copy/paste):

Note, Keith actually DID reply at his blog, saying it doesn't cost much to travel the world. Riiiiight. Sorry, man, but it takes more money than the average person has.

The link given about him traveling the world:

- Soc Kemhard on Jul 28 2011 05:34 pm
diˇaˇlogue /ˈdaɪəˌlɔg, -ˌlɒg/ [dahy-uh-lawg, -log]

1. conversation between two or more persons.
2. an exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, especially a political or religious issue, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement.

And here on the LOTR Archive? 3. SILENCE . . . for 31 days and counting.
- Erullisse on Aug 04 2011 01:59 am
Could some one please be honst? What is going on?
- Lisse on Sep 14 2011 02:53 pm
Could some one please be honst? What is going on?
- Lisse on Sep 14 2011 02:53 pm
Could some one please be honst? What is going on?
- Lisse on Sep 14 2011 02:53 pm
how are things going in here, this site will profit from our stories?
- peamaps on Oct 14 2011 05:39 am
Hey... Im a noob here, so you can take what i have to say in whatever way you guys see fit... BUT it sounds like you guys have a bit of a communication issue with your members and your mods/admins. Having that issue never encourages members to stay active. I'm a member at a Green Day fan fiction site called sullen riot and at it's sister site which is called the attic (original fiction). One way the admins and the members stay in contact is through something called a "shoutbox". Basically, it's a modified version of a chat. There's a limited number of characters you can use per shout, but it is effective in terms of encouraging members to interact with each other, including admins and mods. Just a suggestion since it doesn't sound like you all are getting on very well. Take it or leave it :)
- Savannah1620 on Nov 22 2011 04:14 am

I don’t suppose anyone in charge here will bother to reply or read this comment, just like all the comments that have left unanswered. But I don’t care, I need to get this off my chest. This sudden buy-out without telling anyone and simply transferring the data somewhere else (this is when the archive was down) without giving the people the chance to make their own backups beforehand, quite frankly…the way the two persons responsible dealt with the before, while and after was/is a rather sorry affair. And now that it did not turn out the way planned and the people here did not swallow everything they were told without questioning it, it seems those two have gone underground (or travelling the world), vanishing completely. Are the rats leaving the sinking ship?

When I returned to this archive after more or less a year of absence, I was plainly shocked to learn what had been going on. And after I was done reading all the site news, comments and rather flimsy replies to reassure the worried people, my guts had twisted into an uneasy knot. Posting stories here was a bit like giving your child to some well trusted daycare service (well a 24/7 one) for a long time and one day you want to visit and find a note of some guy at the door, that the owner for some reasons (even though they might be valid ones) gave up the business and simply handed all the children over to said guy to take care of them, because she feels he is ok. A guy you never heard of or, when researching a bit, only found out shady things. A guy, who is said, and has stated so himself at other places, to make money from such undertakings, but dodges the topic when being confronted with it now and who also makes light of the possible consequences people fear it could have.

I share the worries and wholeheartedly support the decision of those who, even though it hurts like hell to lose all the reviews and hit counts which document one’s history on this site, moved their stories to other archives and then hit the delete button. I came to the same conclusion than they: this is no longer a place which feels safe, trustworthy and comfortable for to post fanfiction. I’m just a small fry with the little I have written, so it probably only matters to me what happens with my scribbling, nevertheless I’m emotionally tied to it and moved most of it off to safer grounds.

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